Rosemary McCleod has one of this country's largest collections of women's handcrafts. When it was exhibited at the Dowse gallery, almost 40,000 women of all ages came to see it, and the idea for this book was born. In her own words: "My collection began when I held onto items made by women in my own family when they died. I still have items made by my great grandmother, grandmother and my mother. I began collecting other objects about 20 years ago. I found them in thrift shops and bought them because they seemed to tell a story I knew from my own background." In Thrift to Fantasy, Rosemary has used them to brilliant effect, creating a unique social and personal history of their makers - women and girls who dreamed about a life beyond the farm gate and worked those dreams into reality, using the simple materials they had to hand. From rag rugs to felt handbags, from patchwork quilts to sacking aprons, from knitted panties to topsy-turvy dolls, they provide a unique insight into women's art and creativity in a new country learning its own nature. Superbly illustrated with hundreds of examples from the 30s, 40s and 50s and designed by Sarah Maxey, this book is destined to become a classic.